Scandal at Gucci: Former Top Salesperson Sues Company Over Python Abuse and False Welfare Claims

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


A former top Gucci sales associate—who reports selling nearly $50 million in goods over the course of her nearly 18-year career—is taking aim at the fashion house in a new Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act class-action amended lawsuit filed on Wednesday. The plaintiff, Tracy Cohen, asserts in the lawsuit that she was instructed to perform an elaborate “selling ceremony” when presenting Gucci’s exotic-skin bags to potential customers and tell them that its python-skin products were obtained through a “natural shedding process.” Then she learned of PETA Asia’s investigation into python farms tied to Gucci owner Kering, in which workers were caught bashing live snakes in the head with a hammer, punching metal hooks through their heads, and inflating their bodies with water—even as the animals continued to move about. Cohen asserts that she never would have deceived her trusting clients or personally purchased python-skin bags and shoes over the course of several years had she known that pythons were violently killed for Gucci’s products.

As described in the lawsuit, during Gucci’s “selling ceremony,” employees put on black gloves to present the products to potential customers and tell them that the skins were “ethically” sourced, that the animals weren’t tortured, and that the skins were a “byproduct of the food industry”—among other falsehoods.

python is hit with hammer for exotic skin
An image from PETA Asia’s investigation. More photos available here.

“I trusted that my employer was giving me legitimate training. Instead, Gucci lied to me. I unknowingly deceived my customers, many of whom are animal lovers. The animals were not ‘ethically’ sourced but instead tortured in the name of luxury fashion,” says Cohen. “I hope every trusting client is compensated for Gucci’s lies and this case finally exposes the pain and bloodshed behind every single stitch of its python-skin products.”

“No one who views PETA Asia’s footage showing that live pythons in Gucci owner Kering’s supply chain are smashed with hammers, hooks are thrust through their heads, and their skin is stretched by water hosed into their bodies will see the company’s marketing claims as anything other than fraudulent,” says PETA Senior Director Danielle Katz. “PETA commends Cohen for exposing how Gucci deceives its customers and staff about the violent, cruel methods used to kill pythons for its bags and belts.”

The lawsuit was filed by Tamara N. Holder and cocounsel Johanna J. Raimond on behalf of Cohen, who worked at the Gucci flagship store on the Magnificent Mile.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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